CLASS OF 1978 | 2020 | ISSUE 2

Greetings, classmates. I (Susie) hope these notes find you and yours healthy, safe, and finding silver linings to life in this new life we’re living. In spite of the COVID-19 pandemic turning our world upside down, perhaps you, like me, are finding particular joy in the beauties of nature (our gardens have never gotten this much attention!), the fragrance of a favorite recipe or reaching out to a long-lost friend.

These notes were due on May 18, so who knows what our world will look like when they arrive in your mailbox. Hopefully, progress has been made in defeating the virus, the economy is in better shape, and we have more clarity in our futures.

Lucy Mize wrote that she came back from teaching a class in Thailand on Jan. 18, and on the 20th, was in the White House situation room as part of the COVID-19 response. That must have been quite a welcome home! At the same time, she was glad to welcome her daughter, Belle ’22, home from her sophomore year at Wes. Lucy loves that Belle and her brother will always be on the same Reunion cycle five years apart. During quarantine, her husband keeps them distracted with their beautiful garden and they are hoping that all four of them, including Thaddeus ’17, will be able to spend the summer in Vermont.

Rachael Pine updated us on her life during the quarantine. She says working at a private foundation in NYC during the pandemic is heartbreaking. From her vantage point, she is not face-to-face with the human toll, but she sees the devastation being within the nonprofit sector—the small mission-driven community-based organizations that do amazing work, are the heart and soul of many neighborhoods, and find themselves closing doors, laying off staff, falling behind in rent, and unable to provide even life-sustaining services to their clients in low-income communities. Rachael is finding joy in vicariously sharing the life journey of her children’s lives; one daughter is off to Yale for a master’s level nurse-midwifery and women’s health degree and the other to UC Berkeley for a master’s in city and regional planning.

Lisa Alter is a founding partner of Alter Kendrick & Baron. Her firm advises music publishers, equity investors, musicians, and songwriters alike. She was recently named to the “2020 Billboard Power List” which recognized her as “not only excelling at her job but going beyond to elevate the entire music business.” Congrats Lisa!

Dr. Michael Blackwell, originally in the class of ’77 but graduated in ’78, checked in for the first time in a while. After Wesleyan, he attended graduate school at Boston University and taught at nearby Curry College and the Urban Education Center in Roxbury for Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. From Boston, he moved to the Midwest, where he’s been living a very busy, full life for the past 30 years. He taught classes in religion and society at Missouri State and pastored several churches in the area. He moved to Iowa, where he directed the Center for Multicultural Education at the University of Northern Iowa and taught in the philosophy and world religions department. He pastored a Baptist church in Cedar Rapids for several years and a string of United Methodist churches thereafter. He retired from university teaching in 2015 and retired from pastoring in December. Now he is hoping to enjoy writing, leisure activities, and reconnecting with family and friends. He’s also thinking of moving back to the Northeast where he grew up. Who knows, maybe he’ll be at a Reunion someday!?

My husband, Nick, and I have been enjoying Zoomtailing (yes, that’s a word!) with Jodi Wilinsky Hill, Suki Hoagland, Lance and Moira James, and Pat and Nancy McCabe. Laughter is always good medicine for the soul. It’s certain this year will be like no other, but let’s carry on with kindness, optimism, and hope. Take good care and please send us your news and quarantine stories…surely there are many!

Susie Muirhead Bates | 

Ken Kramer |